Belfast Telegraph

Government set to meet debt targets

The Government is on course to meet its debt targets this year, the Central Bank of Ireland has claimed.

Officials have forecast improved economic growth in 2012 - predicting GDP will grow by 0.7%, up from its previous projection of 0.5%.

The Government hopes to reduce its deficit to 8.6% of GDP this year, as part of its overall commitment to making budgetary adjustments of 12.4 billion euro from now to 2015.

"The resulting improved starting position for this year, combined with upward revision to the nominal value of GDP for last year, and the trends for 2012 to date, should facilitate the achievement of this year's projected deficit of 8.6% of GDP," said the Central Bank.

The bank, in its latest quarterly bulletin, said GDP growth in 2011 was 1.4%. While growth of GDP - the value of goods and services produced in Ireland - slowed this year, Central Bank officials expect it to pick up again in 2013 due to what they described as a stable outlook for domestic demand and recovery in external demand.

As well as reaching its target of reducing the Exchequer's deficit, the Government is also ahead of target in some of its spending, figures showed.

"Fiscal developments have remained broadly on track so far, despite weaker than expected growth," said the bank. "There are signs that expenditure in certain areas is running ahead of target but it is assumed that adjustments will be made to bring the level of spending in line with budgetary projections."

Figures also showed the banking sector was less affected by external difficulties in Europe than expected, with deposit flows remaining "broadly neutral".

Irish resident private-sector deposits were 2.5% lower on an annual basis at the end of June, compared with a drop of 3.1% over the year ending in May. Deposits from households were 0.4% lower on an annual basis in June, while overnight deposits had risen by 261 million euro from the previous month.

Other figures showed loans to households increased marginally from May to June, but were still 3.7% lower on an annual basis following a 3.9% decline for the year ending in May. Lending for house purchase was 2.2% lower in June from the previous year, while other personal loans dropped by 7.9% over the same period.


From Belfast Telegraph